|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2008)|
Owen Edward Brennan (April 5, 1910 – November 4, 1955) was a New Orleans, Louisiana, restaurateur and founder of Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter. He was born to Owen Patrick Brennan and his wife, Nellie. As the oldest of six children, Brennan felt the need to support his family from a young age. He married his wife Maude with whom he had three sons, Owen Jr., James and Theodore. Determined to do well for himself, Brennan purchased the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street in 1943. He became well known throughout the city as a jolly host to his customers. Brennan however, brought on by a challenge from his friend, decided that he was going to open up his own restaurant in the city. In July 1946, Brennan opened up his restaurant, Owen Brennan's French & Creole Restaurant, which became more commonly known as the Vieux Carre.
Upon opening the restaurant, Owen employed many members of his family for different positions within the business. The restaurant flourished as it gained many regular customers and popularity among the city of New Orleans. One famous dish that was first created at his restaurant was Bananas Foster. In 1954 however, when it became time for Brennan to renew his lease, his landlord demanded 50% of the profit from the restaurant. Unwilling to let that happen, Owen moved his restaurant to Royal street converting an old building into the new and improved Brennan's Restaurant. Unfortunately Owen was not able to see his restaurant open to the public. He died in his sleep on November 4, 1955 from a massive heart attack. The restaurant opened the following spring despite the loss of Owen. It was just as successful as it was in its former location and was taken over by Owen's younger sister Ella.
Along with being a successful restaurant owner, Owen Brennan also was the founding father of the Krewe of Bacchus, which he started in 1949. Brennan had realized that many of his clients were unhappy tourists coming for Mardi Gras because at the time most of the Carnival balls were closed to anyone outside of the cities society circles. To appease the many tourists that came to the city he created a brand new Krewe, which was open to tourists. He even held two Bacchus Carnival balls, one in 1949, the other in 1950. Upon the death of Brennan Sr., his son Owen Brennan Jr. took over the Krewe in 1968 hoping to bring back life to New Orleans Carnival. On February 16, 1969 the Krewe of Bacchus staged its first Mardi Gras parade.